Review: Punk Goes Pop 4

Fearless Records does whatever they can to stay true to their name. The record company has received much criticism for their long standing “Punk Goes…” series, yet they continue to release new compilations. People downright hate these songs, but they fail to take them in for what they really are: fun, cover songs.

I love Punk Goes Pop 4 for these exact reasons. Let’s get one thing straight. These are not just punk bands covering these songs. These are hardcore, pop punk, and indie bands playing a variety of popular songs. The variety of rock genres covering the variety of pop genres really peaks my interest. The fourth installment of the series takes that concept, and does it well for the most part.

Like I said, these are fun songs intended for the fan looking for something upbeat and entertaining. Most of the bands understand that they can let loose a little more then they are used to in their original music, but a few bands fall flat and miss the mark. Case in point, Allstar Weekend with their cover of Yeah (3X) originally by Chris Brown.

Allstar Weekend was a ridiculous addition to the artist lineup. Signed to Disney Channel, they have no business being on a compilation with much heavier bands like For All Those Sleeping and Chunk, No Captain Chunk. The cover itself is a boring ‘boy-bandish’ attempt at a song that provokes partying. Allstar Weekend needs to leave.

I do not particularly enjoy The Downtown Fiction’s version of “Super Bass”, originally by Nicki Minaj or, Pierce the Veil, whose cover of “Just The Way You Are” is just too mellowed out to be the lead track. A more serviceable lead track would have been the high energy “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” by Woe, Is Me. With a fantastic blend of blistering screams and clean singing, it captures what I want in a lead track, something to get me going and excited for the rest of the album.

At first, I was disappointed about which artists they chose for this compilation. There was a heavy load of artists that I was not familiar with. However, after listening to each of them, I must say, I am thoroughly impressed. Songs performed by Go Radio, and Tonight Alive were amongst some of my favorites, but nothing compared to the For The Fallen Dreams cover of Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me.” This is the embodiment of Punk Goes… turning an innocent, sweet, T-Swift love song into a thunderous clash of brutality. Nothing gets me going like someone growling “You belong to me” over a steady pounding of distortion and breakdowns.

For those who are a little less brutal, listen to the Go Radio and Tonight Alive covers. Like I mentioned before, these are songs that came out of nowhere, and turned out being two of my favorite tracks on the album.

Go Radio covered Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” and made it one of the best songs vocally on the album. Living up to Adele’s powerful voice is quite the tall task, but frontman Jason Lancaster held his own, which is evident during the chorus.

Tonight Alive covered Mumford and Son’s “Little Lion Man.” Initially, the choice of covering Mumford scared me off. I didn’t want such a highly artistic song to be tarnished with breakdowns and screams, or made into a clone of the original. What Tonight Alive did with the song was excellent though, electrifying the acoustic aspect while staying true to the song. After about a minute of Jenna McDougall’s vocals and small instrumental undertones, Tonight Alive kicks it into high gear, effectively using melodic guitar licks, chunky bass lines and the perfect blend of quiet and powerful vocals. The chorus on this song is hands down the best on the album.

Other solid tracks include: A Skylit Drive’s “Love the Way You Lie”, Silverstein’s “Runaway” and Sleeping With Sirens’ “F*** You”.

Overall, Punk Goes Pop 4 has enough solid songs for me to submit it the honorary “Cody’s Car CD Collection” This release should keep me thoroughly entertained until the next Punk Goes… compilation comes out. With variety that ranges from brutal hardcore to pop punk, “Punk Goes Pop 4” can satisfy almost any listener to a certain degree. Fearless Records has again impressed me, and they deserve a major pat on the back for catering to my musical demands. Well done Fearless.


Album Rating: 4 out of 5

Download: Little Lion Man, You Belong With Me

Listen: F*** You, Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)

Avoid: Yeah (3X), Super Bass